Tigres’ talented young star Jana Gutierrez said it “filled my heart” when she was presented with her NXGN award, after being named among GOAL’s 20 most talented teenagers in the world of women’s soccer.
Gutierrez ranked at No.15 in the 2022 list, which was released while she was away with Mexico’s under-20 national team, helping them to reach the CONCACAF Women's Championship final and qualify for this year's World Cup.
The 18-year-old is one of the leading talents in her country’s exciting next generation of players and has already made over 100 appearances in Liga MX Femenil, starting her career with Club America before joining Tigres last summer.
What has been said?
Speaking in an exclusive interview with GOAL, Gutierrez recalled the moment she received the award. “I said, 'What? Is it real?' I was like processing it.
“I think it's something incredible, a feeling that your whole heart is like paralyzed from the things you've been through, from everything I've lived and to have that beautiful moment, I don't know, it filled my heart.
“It is something very nice because I can inspire more girls and above all it is a commitment in my career, for me it is a challenge every day to be there following and demonstrating.
“I did FaceTime with my sister, my mom was with me, my dad, my grandmother and an aunt, the whole family gathered there; I told them and they were all sending me kisses and hugs and super happy for me and [told me] that the fruits that we have always built have come true and little by little they are very happy that I am fulfilling my dreams, and so, [they were] very happy.
“My family influenced a lot because there were days when I wanted to give up or leave soccer since I was a little girl or as the years went by - and my family was always there behind me,” she added.
“At times, I let myself be influenced a lot by what people say or think about me then - you know, when you have a criticism or something like that. Sometimes I believed it and I said, ‘Oh yes, they are right’, until I got to the point of maturity and understood that they do not know the process that I have given, they do not see me day-by-day striving.”
Asked about where she thinks she can go from here, Gutierrez said: “I feel that this is not my maximum and I can still give much more.
“With the experience and with the years of playing soccer and all that, I will transcend and I will learn more every day and I will be able to contribute more.”
‘Some only admire Ronaldo or Messi – I admire both’
Gutierrez also spoke to GOAL about the players and people that she idolises, with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of that list.
“There are many people I admire,” she explained. “I've always said that I admire Messi and I do, obviously, because he's a natural born talent.
“Many people only admire Cristiano or Messi. I admire them both because, Messi, no one else in the world has his talent and despite his resources he was able to get ahead just like Cristiano. Cristiano is a great example of discipline. I think I admire them both a lot, that's why they are the best players in the world and have gotten to where they are.
“I admire my dad a lot. I have never met a person so hard-working and passionate about soccer. I have never met anyone more passionate than him. I could talk to him for days about soccer, and in fact I do. Every day, every time we talk it is: soccer, soccer, soccer.
“I also admire my sister because she has also been through things and she never lets things drop.”